Author's Note (warning long note!) :
Hello my fabulous readers you! This is sequel number two! It was a tough one to get out I had many many starts and stops. Before we dive back into the 69th-verse….
A few words of warning: although Suzanne Collins did talk about the Capitol and district 13 in her books I felt she didn't go deep into depth on them so she gave me a lot of wiggle room. So take this with a bit of salt and realize this is only MY interpretation and not gospel. Also I am a realist and slightly pragmatic, no place is perfect and there will always be an opposition however weak to anything considered 'the norm'…. Also I might have tweeked the 74th games a bit because we don't know how Peeta got in with Cato's lot…and finally (yes I know this has got to be the longest Author's note I have given…) This sequel may seem a bit long and drawn out or maybe a bit dry compared to what I have done previously, there is reason for everything and I want y'all to give it a shot I have done my best. Also there are different POV's…just warning.
With that! Welcome to Wonderland XD
I let Ari head off alone, I know she is younger than me, but only by a year and like me she prefers being alone more, at least lately. Or at least that's what I think, she's a puzzle to me sometimes. She can be the warmest gentlest teen out there, then she looks at you and there is this steel in he gaze. She is made of tougher stuff than she makes herself out to be. When I won I felt completely alone, Oliver had died in my arms just looking at me, his wound bleeding out and him slowly fading. He mouthed 'I love you' just before he died. I never knew and now I never will get the chance to really know him. Then I think of Ariana's games and she had a similar encounter with Maverick Letorch, true they were years apart in age and it was more like siblings. But she watched him die too.
"Hey Track did Ari ever talk to you about Maverick?" I ask
Tracker looks up from the capital paper they have for him, he looks puzzled for a moment, "no…she doesn't like talking about her games, why would she want to talk about the thing that plagues her dreams so much"
I roll my eyes at him, "with Seneca gone and Hellen missing you'd think she'd open up to us" I reply getting a soda from the fridge they have onboard. "We're practically family to her Track"
He sighs and lowers his paper, "look did I tell you about my games? How it was an open war zone with hidden mines and barb wire mazes, and every few hours or so they released wolves to make us run? Or how some of the tributes died getting the razor wire across their throat? No, because I don't want to talk about it. I think it's the same with Ariana. Who wants to remember a place that drove people insane? I mean you saw Jade on the screen at home? And Henry? They had lost their grip on reality in the end, I think she would rather forget then remember. Even if some things were pleasant."
I slouch in a chair sipping on my canned drink, "it's just…" I pause as he raises a brow at me, "she seems more withdrawn have you noticed?"
"more than normal?" He smirks, "what's really bugging you sis? That she might be regretting your win? That seeing Oliver die in your arms brought Maverick back for her? Or that maybe she needs time to herself and you want her to be more like Hellen"
"I don't want her to be more like Hellen, and I don't think she resents my win, or how Oliver died. The katana is proof in that. I just miss the blue eyed girl that enjoyed racing bicycles, or chatting on the cliffside" I bring my feet up in the chair; Ariana can do this very easily being skinny like a reed. "she seems less herself since my tour started, even in twelve she was less chatty and isn't that where Peeta lives?"
Something dawns on Tracker finally, we both know how much she cares for us and for that baker's family in twelve. Something is wrong….its been several hours too.
"Get your coat" he says focused
Perruse floats in and sees us scrambling for our winter gear.
"The train should be ready to go soon don't go wondering off!" she chirps.
"Perry get some winter boots on, Ariana isn't back yet" Tracker barks at her and she is startled.
"I'll check her room" I say quickly, as I throw on my coat, when I get there I feel a hole start in my stomach.
Her stuff is gone, all her drawing supplies, her snakeleather coat, the pictures of all of us. Everthing is gone.
"TRACK!" I yell shocked as I drop to my knees. He runs up to me and sees the things missing too.
"She can't have gotten far" he says, "Trace…come on get up we have to get her!"
I don't know what or who or why now. Its instincts I am going on, but questions still remain….why did she do this? Is she okay? Why didn't she tell us?
Track, Perry, the crew and I head out towards the forest. I think we forgot how fast my friend is when she runs, and with the ground more solid and full of dead leaves and pine needles and since fresh snow is falling in earnest…barely anything to go on.
"We are so behind schedule" Perry tuts as she trips over a root, its been about an hour or two of searching and still no sign of her.
"Hold it!" the conductor says as he places a hand to his ear, "we are ordered to turn around"
"What? Why?!" I ask angrily
"They are sending a recovery team" he says
Recovery team? What does he…no
"No" Tracker says what I am thinking
"She's? She can't!" I say angrily
"I just got word, about a mile up ahead they found a mess of blood" the conductor says, he looks upset, "she's gone, they are looking for her remains, but they say the amount of blood they found…she wouldn't have survived"
"But her body! They must have found it!" I am ready to shake the conductor make him see sense but he shakes his head again
"They will ask the hermits and woodsmen around these parts, those who have fallen off the map after they turned 19…but…they say we have to continue" he looks grim.
They can't be serious!
"Fine we are skipping the rest and heading for the Capitol" I growl although I can feel tears welling up, "I don't want to celebrate when we get there either"
"We didn't think you would" he replies, "come on people…lets finish this"
I don't sleep, I barely eat. I cry, I throw tantrums. Track is just quiet. Why didn't we see this coming? I start to piece things together, I now realize that my young friend was smarter than all of us.
Her interview when she was making the Capitol into some brutal decadent Rome, Hellen disappearing mysteriously and them returning without her, Seneca getting that job and her saying its not safe in the capital. She had crossed a line, and they were threatening her family. I am sure of it…
They have specials on a day into our ride, I see Peeta's family, they interview the Letorches very briefly and then follow up with a series of interviews with some of the more memorable victors ending with a candlelight remembrance in city center. They zoom in on Finnick and Seneca, I almost throw a chair at the view screen.
When we arrive it's raining, and I can't help but feel its fitting for the mood we are all in.
The heaven's weep when an angel dies I think to myself and feel heartbroken, Ariana would laugh at that.
When we get there, few cameras are out due to weather. But there is someone. Wearing a black designer trench coat holding an equally black umbrella. And sporting a ridiculous beard.
Seneca. He looks horrible, probably how we all look right now. I don't hesitate to go over to him. We look at each other for a moment. I saw the special Flickerman did, I saw the candle light remembrance in city center….and now all I see is red…it's their fault!
SLAP! I wallop him so hard across the face tears spring from both our eyes.
The rain pours down on us and I turn and return to the train. I order Perry to call it all off and with the weather she is more than happy to oblige.
I just want to go home.